Journalism Mentor is a 12-month programme for those interested in exploring journalism as a career. In its structure and teaching, the programme is a mentoring programme and not a typical postgraduate course. The programme has revised its offerings in structure and method of delivery from the earlier years, but the content remains unchanged.
Here are the key features of the programme:
- It is meant for those who are serious about exploring journalism as a career.
- The teaching method involves reading and discussion for substantive areas of study, and extensive reporting, writing and editing for practical areas of the programme.
- Anyone in the country can enroll in the programme without moving their place of residence. Mentoring will be done face-to-face for those living in Mumbai or planning to move to Mumbai and will be done via Skype or equivalent facility for those outside Mumbai.
- It is meant for those who are self-motivated, since it is a mentoring programme and not a teaching-learning-reproducing programme.
- It is open to those who have completed graduation and above. It is also open to those who are pursuing a Master’s programme, and to young journalists who want to improve their ability.
- Entry to the programme is based on the application and the interview, which will have a written component.
PROGRAMME PHILOSOPHY: The programme will exemplify Terence’s dictum humani nihil a me alienum puto, which means there is nothing human that is alien to me, because we believe that for a journalist nothing human can ever be alien. A good journalist is a good generalist. So what is called for is not knowing less, but knowing more and the ability to see the interconnection between different incidents, events and ideas. Journalism Mentor is designed for that.
COURSE PEDAGOGY: Journalism Mentor is about reading, thinking, discussing, experiencing and practising journalism. The method of teaching will be discussion-based and practice-based.
CAVEAT: Journalism Mentor is not meant for the casual student who looks upon journalism as a career for those without option or for journalism to be a means to stardom, fame or access to power and pelf. It is meant for those who believe that journalism is necessary for democracy and its proper practice ranks alongside other forms of public service that strengthen and deepen democracy.
Why a Mentorship Programme: Firstly, the idea behind the mentorship programme comes from a belief that a dedicated student, on completion of the Bachelor’s degree, is capable of becoming a good journalist provided there is adequate and proper mentoring. Unfortunately because of the pressures of daily journalism, the mentoring process, which was in place with seniors educating their juniors, is not available today.
Secondly, the mentoring programme comes from a belief, backed by more than adequate research in the field of education, that a good teacher is more important for learning than infrastructure. It is commonplace to showcase the number of computers, acres of land, buildings, and even classrooms equipped with the latest projection devices. But the quality of those teaching is never discussed. As Bill Gates, who has funded education initiatives through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, mentioned in his inaugural 2009 Annual Letter: “It is amazing how big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one. Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”
Thirdly, the mentoring programme comes from a belief that journalism is a craft that is best learned when there is the continuous give and take that the mentoring process provides. The Socratic method of questions and more questions and the discipline of conversation as a practice based on wide reading provide the right foundation for becoming a journalist.
Fourthly, the mentoring programme is based on a rigorous seminar method of teaching and discussing ideas followed by a regular practice of writing.
Journalism Mentor is not a degree granting institution and is neither affiliated with any university nor accredited by any institution. On successful completion of the course, students will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.
Please do note that there is no statutory requirement for institutions giving postgraduate education in journalism to be accredited. Many leading institutions in India are also not accredited, but they do not always mention that on their website or brochure.